Commit to Winning
How do leaders get followers? What is it that enables average men and women to elicit extraordinary performance from average people? Why do people confer the title of leader on an individual? One simple reason: People are made leaders because they are seen to be the individuals who are most likely to lead the organization to victory. Leadership equals winning.
The main task of leadership is victory. That's why when companies are underperforming or when the team is losing, the very first thing they do is replace the CEO or the coach with someone they believe can lead them to victory. Your ability to lead people to victory and instill the belief that your team can win is the key to cinching your power as a leader.
Leaders are committed to excellence and quality, because excellence and quality lead to winning. When you go into the marketplace with your product or service, one thing your people like to know is that they are representing the best. Quality and service are very important.
Leaders believe that their organizations are capable of being the best in their field. And their aim is to make their organization superior — number one, top of the heap, the best. Not just as good as someone else or not quite as bad as someone else, but the best.
Finally, leaders think in terms of success. They think success all the time. If we think about success all the time, then it is inevitable that we will be successful. If individuals within your organization think of success, whether in terms of increasing sales and profitability, lowering costs, or prosperity and success in the marketplace, then they will become successful, too.
Lessons from Military Strategy
A military leader has but one goal: victory. Many business leaders find inspiration and guidance from military leaders and military strategy. As I wrote in my book Victory!, I have found that the principles of military strategy can lead to victory in any field. Here are those principles.
■ The Principle of the Objective. Military leaders are perfectly clear on the goal(s) of the operation. There can be no fuzziness on this point. For business, the same clarity and commitment is necessary. Your employees, every one of them, must know what they must do and be as committed to victory as soldiers on the battlefield.
■ The Principle of the Offensive. Napoleon said, “No great battles are ever won on the defensive.” Leaders don't play it safe; they don't wait to see what happens. They go out and take control of the situation. Without being foolhardy, they are aggressive and focused.
■ The Principle of the Mass. This is a question of concentrating your forces — which in business means your best people, your best energies, and any resources that you have — on where you have the best chance for the greatest victory. Turnaround leaders often restructure activities to refocus the best talent of the organization on the results that can take the company out of its losing situation.
■ The Principle of Maneuver. Most battlefield victories come from commanders who have out maneuvered the enemy, often by attacking from the flank or the rear. Off the battlefield, the principle of
maneuver translates into creativity and flexibility. As an example, perhaps it means doing the exact opposite of what you are doing now in order to turn a losing organization into a winner.
■ The Principle of Intelligence. Leaders get the facts. They know that information is power. Obtain all the information you need to make the right decisions.
■ The Principle of Concerted Action. Victory is achieved when everyone on the team is driven by shared goals and values. Everyone knows what the others are doing and why. Everyone trusts that the whole team is committed to the goal.
■ The Principle of Unity of Command. In any military operation, there needs to be one leader, one person who is ultimately responsible for the success of the operation. That applies to nonmilitary endeavors as well, especially during a crisis, when time is of the essence. Leaders make it clear in such situations that they are in charge and calling the shots.